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Hullabaloo


Monday, May 26, 2014

 
To hell with the fans, they'll take what we give them and be grateful for it

by digby

If you care nothing about baseball, just move along because this will be a boring and irrelevant post. And if you hate the Dodgers then ... well same as above. I just wanted to note that Dodger pitcher Josh Becket pitched a no-hitter last night, the first Dodger pitcher to do so since Nomomania back in the 90s. And millions of Dodger fans couldn't see it because they don't have Time Warner cable:

Time Warner Cable, which operates SportsNet LA, the team-owned all-Dodgers station that launched in February, still doesn't have distribution agreements with DirecTV, Cox, Charter Communications, Verizon, Dish or AT&T. That means the games are available only to Time Warner Cable subscribers and two other smaller providers in the region, with more than 63 percent of the market in the dark.

Dan York, vice president for programming for DirecTV, which provides pay TV to roughly one-quarter of the Los Angeles market, said Time Warner Cable is asking for about twice what most regional sports networks cost providers.

"Time Warner Cable did an unprecedented deal and now they expect all their competitors to bankroll that deal," York told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "That includes the customers who have no interest in watching the Dodgers, and that's not fair to millions of families."

Even games carried nationally, aside from ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" and Saturday games on Fox Sports One, are blacked out locally.

I'm sure this seems like a silly problem. And maybe it is. But every time I go to the ball park the place is full of kids who are all major fans, following the team in great detail and I can't help but think of what a sad comment on our time this is that those kids, many of whose parents and grandparents are there with them as part of a family tradition, can't follow the season as they have in the past. Here in LA a large number of the most devoted fans are Hispanic and it's clear their love for the team runs very deep. There are many Asian fans as well. The Dodgerss have always been among the first teams to sign players of other countries. (And, obviously, they were the first team to sign an African American, the great Jackie Robinson.) America's pastime is very, very multicultural in Los Angeles. But who cares about that, right?

And I'm really sad that the great Vin Scully's play by play isn't accessible to the fans in the twilight of his storied career. We listen to the west coast games on the radio which, when Vin is calling his three innings (yes, he only calls the first three innings on the radio --- another contract issue) it's as good as baseball gets. There aren't very many announcers who can relay the game with words the way he can. But other than that, we're just out of luck. I don't have Time Warner. And I won't be switching.

I know it's a minor complaint in the great scheme of things and it's not something I lose any sleep over. But this is a shame. The dollar amounts in this deal are obscene and it's very hard to see why the fans have to be the one's to pay the price for this level of greed. But that's how it works in today's America. We're all just pawns in the 1%'s game and they figure, probably correctly, that we'll just take what we can get and say "thank you sir, may I have another."

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